You Can Afford This Bugatti—But You Can’t Drive It
Bugatti is between eras. Since it was acquired by Volkswagen in 1998, the French luxury and racing outfit has made just one model. Superlative in every category that matters, the Veyron is among the fastest production cars in history (258 mph), flinging 1,200 horsepower from an 8-liter 16-cylinder, four-turbocharger engine.
Bugatti made 450 Veyrons in a few variants. It sold them for an average of $2.6 million, and ended the 10-year production run in March.
Now it’s time for the encore, and Bugatti’s stalling for time. We know a little bit about what comes next: Bugatti expects it to succeed the Veyron as the fastest ever; it will use a carbon-fiber structure and an engine based on those of the outgoing car. It’ll be called the Chiron, in honor of Bugatti-driving F1 champion Louis Chiron (or maybe the the mythological centaur who tutored Achilles).
We’re unlikely to see an actual Chiron before next year, but Bugatti’s keeping us interested with a different sort of car. A virtual one.
At the Frankfurt Motor Show today, it unveiled the Vision Gran Turismo, a concept it made for the video racing game Gran Turismo. It’s not the Chiron, but it’s an enticing preview of what we’re waiting for.
Bugatti president Wolfgang Durheimer says all 450 Veyrons were snatched up by “proud automotive connoisseurs,” and this is the consolation prize for the 99.999993812 percent of the population that didn’t get one. He’s talking about the virtual car, but everyone in Frankfurt will be able to see the physical copy Bugatti built for the show.
It may be virtual, but it looks freaking sweet. The newest Bugatti retains the curves that set the Veyron apart from its more angular competitors like the Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1, but adds track-focused features. It’s got a wider, higher rear wing that’s connected to the roof by a tail fin. Up front are a chin spoiler and a more pointed nose. To minimize wind resistance, the side view mirrors are puny enough to be mistaken for T-Rex arms. The whole thing is upholstered in the same suede used for F1 racing shoes.
The concept car “is overstated,” says design lead Achim Anscheidt. Indeed, but what really matters is that Anscheidt says the Vision provides an early look at the design language Bugatti will use on the Chiron.
Concept cars are often used to preview designs, but whatever makes it to production is inevitably more boring, a victim of cost limitations and safety regulations. Bugatti is different. Cost limitations aren’t really a thing. Regulations are a thing to be overcome with stacks of money.
Maybe you don’t play Gran Turismo. You certainly won’t own a Bugatti Chiron. But if you hope its awesomeness can match that of the Veyron, this videogame study is good news.